Governor Peter Shumlin marked Arbor Day today with a message that trees are the key to a vibrant, healthy and resilient community.
“Trees are important to our Vermont way of life – they are a source of fun, shade or solace when we just need a quiet place. Research tells us that our trees also provide so much more. Trees create economic opportunities and help reduce chronic illnesses like asthma and obesity. Trees can increase home values and conserve energy. Trees make our air cleaner, help prevent water pollution, and provide habitat for wildlife. In short, trees are one key feature to a vibrant, healthy, and resilient community. The one thing city trees can’t do is take care of themselves. This Arbor Day, Friday, May 3, let’s all get involved, get outside, and get to work to care for our trees. You won’t just be helping our trees, you’ll be helping yourself and your community too.”
At a Statehouse ceremony, the Governor recognized Vermont’s Tree City USA communities, Tree Line USA Utilities, and Tree Campus Universities. He congratulated student artists in the Growing Works of Art contest that celebrates the maple tree, and kept with tradition as he helped plant the annual Arbor Day tree on the Statehouse lawn. In addition to the ceremony, tours of the Statehouse forest, a 14-acre parcel on the hillside behind the Statehouse, were offered to showcase the recent work of two University of Vermont students, Meredith Whitney and Alex Potash, who researched the goods and services provided by the forest, as well as its history. To learn more visit: vtstatehouseforest.blogspot.com.
In 2012, seven Vermont communities qualified for the Tree City USA program, which recognizes communities of all sizes that proactively care for and manage their public trees. Burlington, Enosburg Falls, Hartford, Montpelier, Peacham, Rutland, and South Burlington were honored. Vermont Electric Power Company received the Tree Line USA designation for their work promoting best practices in utility arboriculture and public education. Middlebury College received the Tree Campus USA designation for effectively engaging their students on campus and in the community in managing their trees.
The Department of Forests, Parks, and Recreation sponsors the annual youth Arbor Day Growing Works of Art contest. The seven winners recognized had to identify a maple tree species that grows in Vermont, draw a picture of it, and provide five facts about the tree. Vermont is well known for the presence of sugar maple, and as the Vermont state tree, the species is valued and appreciated by Vermonters of all ages. However, there are lots of other maple species that grow in Vermont and students explored and learned about these as well. The winners’ works were made into a set of tree trading cards that will be collected and enjoyed by students across the state. The students honored were Klara Hopkins of home school in Brandon, Hunter Tinker of Johnson Elementary School, Willow Snow of Hyde Park Elementary School, Jayna Goldfarb of The Mountain School, Cael Christian of Castleton Elementary School, Madelline Maxham of Braintree Elementary School, and Krystian Gombosi of Middlebury Union Middle School.
As Governor Shumlin said, “Trees are a vital component of our cities and towns. Our heritage is rooted in trees and our future depends on their future viability. Let’s commit to our trees …. and to ourselves. Happy Arbor Day!”